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Shippensburg Borough Council votes to advertise changes to noise, outdoor burning ordinances

6 February 2013 No Comment

By AMBER SOUTH
@ShipNewsGirl

SHIPPENSBURG — Shippensburg Borough Council voted 5-1 Tuesday to advertise an amendment that would firm up language in the noise ordinance and improve evidence of violations.

The change followed a recommendation made by Police Chief Fred Scott at the Jan. 15 meeting, a few months after he first brought the issue to council. He said the ordinance’s loose language made it difficult both for police to enforce it and for Magisterial District Justice H. Anthony Adams to hand down guilty verdicts.

If approved, the amendment will add the phrase “a noise that can be heard,” to tighten the explanation of acts that constitute a noise ordinance violation.

“This change here I think will help police with burden of proof,” said Borough Manager Earl Parshall.

The amendment also calls for the minimum fine to be cut in half to $25; the $300 maximum would remain, as would the punishment of not more than 10 days in jail for defaulting on payment.

Councilman Steve Brenize voted against the measure because he does not think it is specific enough. He said a noise violation should require a victim; some situations may include a victim, but police can issue a citation based on their own observances.

In other business, council voted 6-0 to advertise a new chapter to the borough code specifically on outdoor burning. As of now, rules on outdoor burning are included in the code’s chapter on garbage, rubbish, refuse and recycling.

The big change that would come in Chapter 109 is to allow borough residents to use chimineas and other factory-built novelty stoves on their properties.

The code has never allowed for the use of chimineas, and it was rewritten in 1999 to specifically exclude them. Councilwoman Kerri Burrows especially supported allowing their use.

Council also unanimously voted to approve recommendations from the Enterprise Zone Loan Program Committee to revise parts of the EZLP guidelines. Changes include the addition of retail and commercial businesses as eligible borrowers; addition of guidelines for potential increase in nonprofit participation; a maximum loan increase to $200,000 from $100,000; and a decrease in the minimum loan rate to 2 percent from 3 percent.

Following discussion in an executive session, council chose not to allow Longhorn Dance Club to host additional activities including live music, birthday parties, wedding receptions and mixed martial arts exhibitions. The executive session was held because council was discussing an existing contract.

Approval would have required the contract to be changed to allow the facility to be used for something other than a country-themed dance club. Councilman Joe Hockersmith further noted that approving the request would restrict public recreation at the facility, the purpose of which the borough bought it.

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Amber South can be reached at asouth@publicopinionnews.com and 262-4771.

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